It’s common enough to hear Mondays vilified by the masses as the worst day of the week. Weekend blues coupled with a long working week ahead of you and an inbox stuffed with unread, attention seeking emails support the theory. So naturally, the idea of ‘Blue Monday’ – a Monday deemed more terrible than all the rest – is an alarming thought.
Blue Monday was coined by the psychologist Cliff Arnall using an entirely unscientific formula and falls on the third Monday in January each year. The formula uses a number of factors including debt levels, weather, time spent travelling, motivation levels and the feeling of needing to take action, but these factors are presented without any explanation of how the units of measurement are defined, and as such, it lacks any true meaning. Its origins actually came from a request from a holiday company wanting a formula to encourage the masses to book trips and jet off in January to escape the gloom.
Labelling one day as problematic is not conducive to recognising and tackling the all year round challenges of depression, stress and depleted mental health. Some have spoken of the unfair pressure ‘Blue Monday’ puts on surviving a particular day and how it can create added anxiety and unease when approaching it. The flip side is to remember its origins as a marketing ploy, entirely unscientific in nature. Instead of taking it seriously it can simply serve as a reminder of mental health and to open up valuable conversations around acknowledging the need to address anxiety and depression levels and improve our day-to-day environments.
Here are some suggestions for making January a happy month:
- In the workplace: a comfortable office chair, a view of the outdoors and maximising natural light.
- Generous supplies of hot drinks and breakfast options for comfortable break times in and out of the office.
- Plenty of exercise in any form and anywhere – so long as you’re releasing plenty of happy endorphins, how you do it and where you do it is up to you!
- Volunteer some time to acts of giving and extend that December Christmas spirit for as long as you can!
- Keep assessing personal and work New Year resolutions so they remain achievable and inspiring rather than demotivating.
Low expectations of a particular day plus preparedness to tackle it positively can actually equal a better than expected day. After all, you can prepare the night before with a hot bath, a good book and an early night and the day itself can begin with an upbeat, inspiring playlist, some positive affirmations said with as much conviction as you can muster and a plan to fit some exercise and/or a fun social activity in and around the working day.
2018 has been a tumultuous year, certainly in the world of politics where clarity, certainty and upward progression have seemed rather ungraspable at times, so perhaps more than ever it is a time to focus on mental health, personal progression and new beginnings. January 2019 can be filled with Happy Mondays if we try our best to build our own positive, personal equations.
Over the last few years, the month of January has seen some incredible medical advancements in the industry. In January 2018 researchers started recruiting lymphoma patients to test a potential cancer vaccine that had successfully eliminated tumours in mice. Smart contact lenses were also brought to the public’s attention as a potential way of conveniently monitoring glucose levels in patients with diabetes. The beginning of 2017 and 2018 also saw significant, sure-footed steps forward in such areas as computer-assisted medicine, dementia, longevity science and severe pain relief where alternatives to morphine were explored.
By openly communicating and collaboratively improving our environments, we can change our perspectives and quite possibly experience a January of happy Mondays. So let’s generate our own equations and formulas to bring in a happy New Year of productivity, progress and possibility!